ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Thursday Sep 13, 2018

Bouncing back from disaster: the emotional tale of the new Kamaishi RWC 2019 stadium

There are few rugby stories like this. Following the catastrophic tsunami and subsequent earthquake along the Oshika Peninsula in Japan which set off meltdowns of seven nuclear reactors and claimed the lives of almost 16,000 people, there seemed to be little hope for those fortunate enough to survive.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the beauty of life is that recovery is a natural, almost instinctive reaction to something like this. And in a recent World Rugby documentary, this is no better exemplified than by the emotive story of Kamaishi, a city which lost over 1,000 of its people but rallied to complete its new stadium last month.

The 16,000 seater Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium will host two games in next year’s Rugby World Cup, including Fiji’s Pool D game with Uruguay. It is a remarkable feat considering the turmoil the city has gone through in the past seven years, and testament to the strong will of its people.

Following the disaster in 2011, 30% of the homes were damaged or destroyed. Flooding was a huge concern as well and around “98% of the local fishing fleet was wiped out.”

Despite this, Kamaishi, who have a strong rugby heritage inside Japan, continued playing and received Yamaha Júbilo for a league game within three months of the earthquake.

Now, upon completing the stadium, Kamiashi welcomed back Yamaha Júbilo for a memorial match to celebrate the opening of the new ground.

Tekenori Noda, Mayor of Kamaishi City, said: “Today has been an incredible day for Kamaishi. To have played the opening match in this beautiful stadium, completed with the support and vision of so many people, is a dream come true.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The history of Kamaishi Rugby Club is fascinating, and goes some way to understanding the sheer grit and determination shown in undertaking such a mammoth re-building of not only the stadium, but the city in general.

Originating in 1959 from a business group of Fuji Iron employees, Fuji Iron Kamaishi Rugby Division won seven consecutive Japanese Championship titles between 1978 and 1984. It has won a total of 26 titles, the highest number in history of Japanese rugby.

It then went through various guises, firstly the Nippon Steel Kamaishi Rugby, then formed a new era in 2001 when it was revamped as the Kamaishi Seawaves.

During its heyday, the club boasted a number of Japanese internationalists, such as Yuji Matsuo, Koji Horaguchi, Yoshihiko Sakuraba and Michihito Chida. Osamu Koyabu also coached his country in the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is a heart-warming, yet thoroughly emotional video which includes some distressing footage of the tsunami and earthquake. But it shows a superb human side of a country and city stricken with devastation beyond belief. It is a determination that is sure to make next year’s tournament a success no matter what.

How Kamaishi re-built itself ahead of 2019 Rugby World Cup

Related Articles

  • 57 WEEKS AGO

    If you can get your head around it, these...

  • 79 WEEKS AGO

    You've never seen any Rugby World Cup drop...

  • 81 WEEKS AGO

    TOP 10: Rugby World Cup 2015 was filled with...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Ulster score counter attack try of the season contender in Champions Cup

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Smith provides the goods once again with late Quins comeback in Europe

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    McKenzie impresses for Suntory on league debut in Japan

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Ridiculous dummy-offload sets up last gasp bonus point for Bears

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Length-of-field chase for charge down results in great try

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 17 HOURS AGO

    Dangerous challenge on Kockott shows how contentious in the air challenges are

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Fijian powerhouse runs straight over Murray and Conway

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: The harsh Umaga red card which has divided the rugby world

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Opening minute red card leaves coach questioning current laws

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Chiefs prop sent off for dangerous challenge on England's Joe Marler

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 16 HOURS AGO

    Some of the most controversial red cards in rugby history

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Embarrassing blunder in Japanese Top League is nothing but hilarious

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Smith provides the goods once again with late Quins comeback in Europe

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    McKenzie impresses for Suntory on league debut in Japan

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Folau scores twice on return to rugby union in Japan

View All

Funnies

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Embarrassing blunder in Japanese Top League is nothing but hilarious

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    The naughty language of Dane Coles which most fans missed during last year's Ireland defeat

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: 15 moments of 'sh*thousery' which probably shouldn't be tolerated in the modern game

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    O'Mahony tells Rory Kockott to 'pi$s off' in hilarious interaction in front of referee

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Bizarre scenes as Harry Potter performs disappearing act against Bordeaux

View All

Amateur

  • 63 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 100 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 101 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 101 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 101 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: American cross-over athletes get recruited off the street to try rugby

  • 14 WEEKS AGO

    New Tongan Thor montage is five minutes of mesmerising hits and skills

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    A deeper look at Jason Robinson's incredible path to the top

  • 47 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 53 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

View All